Day 4 of our trip has us leaving Padre Island and heading to visit my relatives in San Antonio. The last stop before leaving was at Sea Turtle Inc.. We were all quite excited to learn more about one of our favorite animals, sea turtles.
We arrived in time to make the first talk on sea turtles this is called “Turtle Talks” and what we has humans can do to keep them safe in the ocean. It is truly amazing to learn that a simple thing as a straw can do so much damage to turtles and other sea animals. One of the things we quickly learned being on the island was that straws close to the ocean were paper straws and other restaurants didn’t even give straws as they are not friendly to the ocean. During “Turtle Talks” it was explained how the turtles in care at Sea Turtle Inc had come into their care, why they had to be cared for and if they were able to be released back into the ocean. The goal is to rescue the turtle and return them back to the ocean sadly that is not always possible. There are several big tanks that house those turtles that are not able to return to the ocean due to injuries that will not allow them to survive on their own
After the presentation we headed over to where the sea rescued sea turtles are housed. Many of these turtles are happy to be at Sea Turtle Inc they get wonderful care from the care takers at Sea Turtle Inc.
There is more to see inside the facility on how to care for turtles and other sea life. In a separate out building there were more turtles ; some local turtles, loggerhead turtles and many others all that have been rescued and in rehab to hopefully get better and be returned to the ocean. It is a very educational place to stop and learn for both kids and adults.
After leaving Sea Turtle Inc. we were ready to say good-bye to the island we had quickly fallen in love with and travel onto San Antonio. The drive to San Antonio seemed much faster than the drive to South Padre and thankfully Laura slept from the time we passed a little town called Peggy into San Antonio. I love San Antonio not just because my Aunt and Uncle live there I have come to love all the city has to offer. We didn’t have a lot of plans while in San Antonio but as this was Laura’s first time there I wanted to show her some of the highlights of the city. Once we made it to my Aunt and Uncle’s we were happy to be out of the car and ready to just sit and do nothing, which is not easy to do when you have a 9 year old who has been sleeping for the past 4 hours. Thankfully there are pugs at my aunt and uncle’s to keep her busy. We were all ready to see our beds that night and sleep.
Over the next few days we visited downtown San Antonio, we took a tour through The Alamo and a ride down The Riverwalk. San Antonio is full of so much history it always gives me chills when I visit to think of all the brave men that fought in this city so many years ago. The Riverwalk is equally amazing as many of the apartments on The Riverwalk were once large homes, churches even banks that over time have been converted into living quarters. San Antonio takes great pride in preserving what they have around them.
We didn’t get to make all the stops we had on our list mostly due to time and being a bit worn out and ready to take things easy. I managed to get in a local theater show with my aunt. One of her neighbor’s has a daughter that is in the local theater company and was in the production of Mamma Mia. My aunt bought me a ticket for my birthday to go with her and her friends. We went to dinner before the show at Down On Grayson located in The Pearl District. The food was wonderful and enjoyed by our entire group. After dinner we made our way to the play and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
The rest of our weekend was spent primarily around the house baking cookies, my aunt made Laura a dress for her to wear for the upcoming school year and she helped Josh make a warm and cozy flannel blanket, he can’t wait for the weather to get colder so he can use it. My dad and a friend of his joined us over the weekend. My uncle was giving Dad discarded wood from a deck he had just replaced. I get part of the wood to make a screen porch at my house..Yay! The end of our visit came much too quickly, good-byes were said and we were back on the road again with wonderful memories of South Padre Island and San Antonio. We are already thinking of when we can go back again and explore more places in both places.
I’m not counting Sunday as we did not get into town until 6 pm. Thankfully nothing uneventful happened, traffic was great considering where we were going and only a few stops to get here. Once we were inside the city limits we stopped by my families house for dinner and a short visit then headed to our hotel on the Riverwalk.
Joanna’s conference is being held at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter so our hotel is in the same place. After a long days drive and a lovely visit with my family, we were ready to crazy into a nice bed and sleep. So it was refreshing when we pulled up to the Marriott Rivercenter and see these lovely faces eager to take your car and whisk you inside their very air-conditioned hotel. I could have slept in the lobby I was so tired. Luckily I didn’t have to do that a nice Porter (in shorts I thought were made up for comedy shows ) arrived with a luggage cart and loaded all our luggage onto and wheeled it to our room. I felt like royalty having a porter take our luggage to our room, take everything off the cart and hang clothes in the closet. The room was nice and cool, roomy with a bed made from hell. I’m pretty sure it was manufactured by the ACME Brick Co. I’mso excited that I have a week to sleep on this thing. I read somewhere once that sleepy on too soft a bed will give you a bad back, not sure what sleeping on bricks will do for you. Crumble your spine?
Aside from the bed from hell we both grabbed a bed and hit the bricks for the night. While Joanna is at her conference I decide to hit the Riverwalk in search of, no idea. Hey, I’m on vacation. I don’t have to search for anything.
Rio Cruise boat in front of Rivercenter Mall
The location of this hotel is great, only a few doors down is the Rivercenter Mall. I hit that to see what was going on in the mall world today. Turns out when you visit on a weekday and not in the summer when kids are out of school, the mall isn’t terrible. Usually, when I visit my family in San Antonio it falls in summer or we venture to the mall on a weekend, always full of people. Today has been so nice. I took my time through the mall, one vendor stopped me to ask if I was looking for anything. I smiled at him and said No, No I’m not. It was truly a great feeling. After I walked the mall more than I should I found a lovely ice cream shop, Marble Slam Creamery. I bought an ice cream took it outside and ate it while watching the tourists ride up and down the Riverwalk on the boats.
RiverCenter Mall and patio area on Riverwalk
While sitting at my table a little Chinese family took the table next to me. They became ecstatic over ducks they saw in the water. Not just the kids, mom, grandma as well. They were speaking in Chinese but they kept saying duck and laughing this wondrous laugh that made you smile actually it makes your heart smile to know people are happy about such things as ducks swimming in a river. I ate my ice cream while listening off and on to the family talk about the ducks later pigeons. Eventually, I finished my ice cream and gathered my things to leave. I rather hated to leave the family and their excitement but Dad and additional family members brought food and I knew they would need my chair so I left to walk down the Riverwalk. It’s something people should do instead of riding the boats all the time. San Antonio has put in a lot of money and thought to make the pathways easier for people to walk on and enjoy the Riverwalk. I truly enjoyed my time. I was ready to get back to my room and cool off, it is rather warm out today. I wouldn’t have it any other way I’ll take warm weather over cold any day of the week.
Yet another Christmas has come and gone and another one will be here before we know it. Is there anyone out thinking about being away from home at Christmas? I always wanted to do that when I was a child, I was always at grandparents houses Christmas morning. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that my family started having our own private Christmas and we stayed home as my father didn’t enjoy traveling.
I have always wanted to go away at Christmas to someplace really magical, like England and experience a Dickens Christmas. I realize that is just fantasy but I’ll bet there is some lovely village in England that comes close. I’ve wanted to go to New York City on Thanksgiving and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade to usher in Christmas and enjoy the sites New York City has to offer. As I have gotten older the idea of going to colder places no longer appeals to me and a nice warm tropical island has a better appeal. Hawaii would be a great place to spend Christmas at least once or even sunny Florida.
TripAdvisor reports that 40% of travelers book their vacation 6-12 months out and another 60% book 1-5 months out. If you are planning a trip during the Christmas holiday booking now is advised. I truly enjoy using TripAdvisor when I travel. When you download their easy to use app to your phone or personal device you are able to make an itinerary of places you want to visit, eat at or shows to see. There are also reviews from travelers letting you know of their experience at that venue. I have found this very helpful in bigger cities I have been too.
I have listed 5 of the holiday spots that are within the US and easy to get to.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-temps are around 60 degrees, beachfront condos can be rented from $109 – $450 a night depending on your group size. Myrtle Beach has many things to offer during this time of year from sandy beaches to aquariums.
Port Isabel, Texas-temps are a lovely 70-80 degrees in December, located just before you get to Padre Island. Rental property goes from $105-$440 a night depending on your group size. Port Isabel is full of American history, lighthouses and pirate ships. Fun can be had by the whole family.
Colorado Springs, Colorado-temps range from 40 degrees and lower in December. If a Christmas setting is what you are looking for this is the place. Minutes away from ski resorts, an hour away from Denver. Colorado Springs is home to the Olympic Sports Training and Visitor Center, Pikes Peak is not far away and Garden of the Gods is breathtakingly beautiful.
San Antonio, Texas -temps vary during December usually mild weather around 50 degrees, average nightly stay $200 depending on group size. San Antonio has so many things to offer while visiting. During the month of December, some of their seasonal parks are closed but do open for a few events mostly on weekends, check their websites if thinking about going to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. This is a city that stays busy, plus you are only a few hours away from the Gulf Coast should you want to venture further south.
Orlando, Florida-temps range from 70-50 degrees in December. Hotel rates vary as most are based on theme park visits. The website does offer good packages for those wanting to visit. Orlando has so much to offer it would be hard to pick one thing to showcase. The Orlando website does offer an app to download to help you sort out your choices of where to go on your trip. I am all about free help.
Those are my 5 choices. I hope they have been somewhat helpful should you decide to pack up and head elsewhere for the Christmas holidays. Have a great trip, Cheryl